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Old 09-07-2006, 12:17 AM   #1
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1976 26' Argosy 26
St. Albert , Alberta
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Argosy project - shall we get started?

Here's the background: I got us lost in Central Alberta in our '73 Boler (17') this summer and along some backroad strech I saw an Argosy parked in the driveway. It had great lines! I was quite curious because our Boler was getting a little too small for us with growing kids, and the Argosy seemed like a good step up (I love the smooth curves of the Boler too)...After getting home and following up with a bit of surfing around the web, presto, I found this forum and its vast network of very helpful Argosy owners. It was then that I had a flash...maybe I'd call around town to see if any dealers had an Argosy on the lot, one that I could look at up close. Long story short, on the second dealer I called I got a hit...and after a few days of pondering and haggling (and intense catchup on the old forum posts), I am now the owner of a '76 Argosy 26!

The PO painted the domes with drippy latex. There are lots of half pulled out bolts rusted on (from an old awning attachment I believe on the curb side). And a number of ends sticking out of pop rivets from stuff attached on the inside. Also the lower belly curve portion is massively dinged up and either a lot of rivets have popped off or a lot of holes were drilled.

Question: can I bondo the dings and the PO bolt holes prior to the repaint? Or do Argosy owners get them worked at in a body shop and hammered out properly.

The interior is ok. Somewhat peeling and old looking, but the fridge is apparently newer (according to the dealer). But the curbside wing window trim detail is rather...sloppy (see photo). Is this the normal state of finish?

Oh, the streetside wing window is all cloudy...does this require polishing or replacing?

The electrical system needs work, as the flashers were not working when I towed her a short distance to the "staging yard" where I plan to do some of the cleanup work. So that needs attention.

And on the highway, the streetside trim rattled loose (about 10' of it) and got all twisted before I could pull off the road (see photo: by the way, what is that awning strip attached so low on the body for? the curbside has it too). But you know, it doesn't look too bad under that trim with the trim off.

Luckily there are several Airstream dealers nearby and tomorrow I plan to visit them to get aquainted with my future "advisors".

The big picture? Clean her up in time for a cross Canada trip next summer 2007! The smaller picture? Figure out what I want to do next...
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:25 AM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Hi, and welcome to the forums.
That's quite a project you have there, good luck with your new project.
To answer a couple of your questions, yes, you can bondo over the dents, and paint them, it is one of the advantages of having a painted trailer.
The front window trim looks like it has been worked on in the past, and you may want to revisit that area when rehabbing the interior. The streetside wing window may have been replaced with plexiglass at one time, check to make sure you have glass in it before trying to clean off the clouds.
How old are the tires?
And lastly, are there any leaks in the coach, or soft spots in the floor?
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:31 AM   #3
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Hi Chopper: Welcome to the forums. The awning strips attached low on the body sides above each wheel well are for pieces of awning material that keep the sun off the tires during storage, a good practice. A side benefit is the awning rails act as "speed lines" good for an additional 2 mph whether traveling or parked. Enjoy your great new project.
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:37 AM   #4
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1976 26' Argosy 26
St. Albert , Alberta
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Was Herculite original windows back then?

Good news on the bondo bit. The majority of the body is fine (except for holes all over the place from ??? rivets used to hold things onto the body I guess). I'll bondo those up too.

The tires are a mixed set, a bit cracked...I'll get the suspension/bearings/brakes/tires all checked out. I'll check any previous forum posts regarding the suspension system. I didn't see any springs down there...just shocks, but I'll have a better look today in my grubby clothes (picked up the unit yesterday in my good shoes even, I'm sure I had newby written all over me), esp. as my hitch ball was 2" for the Boler, not the required 2 5/16".

Any ideas on polishing up the hubcaps? I'm thinking of re-chroming then.

Speaking of which, can the screen door be hot-dipped for a refreshed look? (minus gasket and screen of course.)

The clear wing window was stamped "herculite". Is that original? It's also the side with the sloppy finish so maybe that's a replacement. The streetside wing is the clouded one and it sounds like plastic when I tap it. I'm thinking to order the replacement at the AS dealer when I go today. I'm also thinking that's why the other side is herculite and why the finish trim is strange.

Thanks!
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:45 AM   #5
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Hi and welcome to the forums. Our 77 Argosy has Herculite side windows. They were original and one of ours is badly clouded. I have read reports of folks polishing them out with the same stuff used on airplane windows.... but no first hand experience.
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:50 AM   #6
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1976 26' Argosy 26
St. Albert , Alberta
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Tire awnings...

Is that so? Is that factory?

The more I think of it, this project is going to take a lot of removing PO stuff. I like clean lines, but I've been known to de-clutter to the extreme. (my wife just mentioned yesterday how my old Toyota Corolla was bare bones transportation...compared to our (her) fully loaded suv (yeah I'd say as we compared gas receipts)...glad to hear that those awning stripes will improve mpg! Actually, despite the worry about towing with the old tires, no working lights, trim dragging on the highway, and a ball too small...it was quite fine behind Big Blue (my Dodge Ram 2500...the kids bought me horns for it too...which I happily put on...the hood, not me!)

It's gonna be a fun day, cheers!
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:52 AM   #7
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1964 26' Overlander
1964 19' Globetrotter
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About the suspension... Your trailer has Henshen torsion axles as original equipment. My guess is that they will need to be replaced. After about 30 years they usually do.... They lose their spring and sort of sag. This means that your trailer rides harder and will over time, increase wear and tear on the trailer as it rides harder. Our cabinets sort of shook apart prior to axle replacement.

Axles are expensive but can be a do it yourself job as they bolt on.
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Old 09-07-2006, 11:00 AM   #8
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1976 26' Argosy 26
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Suspension!

Janet,

Ah,rough suspension, that would explain why I got to the "staging yard" and when I looked inside most of the cabinets had banged open. From inside Big Blue everything looked smooth and steady, but I gues it was a rough ride back there.

Ok, that's one more thing to ask at the AS dealer. Suspension!

Thanks!
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Old 09-07-2006, 02:46 PM   #9
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Lightbulb Good luck with your new project!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chopper
Good news on the bondo bit. The majority of the body is fine (except for holes all over the place from ??? rivets used to hold things onto the body I guess). I'll bondo those up too.
If the holes aren't over-sized, you could just "stick a rivet in it" and then paint them when you paint the rest of the trailer.

Shari
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Old 09-07-2006, 05:23 PM   #10
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1976 26' Argosy 26
St. Albert , Alberta
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Rivets in the Little Holes

Wow, thanks for the idea. I hope the AS dealer is still open so that I can grab a handful of these so-called Olympic rivets. Question: are the stems on these rivets hollow? On my Argosy (I should have a nick name for it soon) some of the rivets seem original yet hollow stemmed, that is, there's a hole in the middle of the head. I see on a previous post that I can shave the stems down, and the shaved heads look solid, so I wonder if the shaver fills the hollow stem?
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:08 PM   #11
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No, Olympic Rivets don't have the hollow hole look to them, those are pop rivets. With Olmpic rivets, the stem fills the hole almost 100%, when shaved properly you barely notice it, unless it snaps off too low. Here's a old post that shows some of our bucked, Olympic & pop rivets...it should help you see the differences.

Factory Rivet vs Repair Rivet - Post #14

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Old 09-07-2006, 06:26 PM   #12
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1976 26' Argosy 26
St. Albert , Alberta
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OK on the rivet head

Got it, thanks, I took a look and I see that a PO went pop-rivet happy and fastened a lot of things with them. Both with the heads on the exterior, as well as from the interior such that the squished ends of the pop-rivets are stuck out on the exterior. Combine that with handy-dandy bolts, screws, and an assortment of junk-bucket parts, the PO was like my father-in-law, "who cares how it looks as long as its twice as strong!"

On that note, when I drill the rivets out, obviously the back end just falls between the exterior and interior?

Also, that twisted trim is coming off (see initial photo). Has anyone just left it off and painted the seam?
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:07 PM   #13
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1976 26' Argosy 26
St. Albert , Alberta
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Action Plan

Ok, I've thought it over and here's my action plan:

1. For the exterior, remove all the PO attachments, including the tire awnings and bolts for the Zip Dee that's no longer there (I'll keep the upper awning rail), and the roof antenae (though the streetside one just looks too cool to remove), remove the mid-body trim, replace the clouded window, and finally I'll take off the plastic rear light casing that's cracked and replace it with (?) round tail lights probably.

2. For the interior, I'll remove...everything except for the mechanical work for now (fridge, furnace, hot water heater), I'll even take out the toilet (broken) and bathtub/shower and kitchen sink. I think a lot of it may be still quite useful so I'll be careful in case anyone wants the storage bins or what have you. Then the carpet comes out and the floor condition is examined. At this point I'll clean the interior shell to see how it comes out.

Question: has anyone filled holes by POs in the interior vinyl panels? I'm thinking of some sort of plastic patch kit or just small dabs of caulking?

3. I'm racing the winter in the great white north (already the fall colors are on some of the trees, yikes!) but I want to patch, seal, strip, prime and paint before winter, then I can work on the interior during the long winter.

My wife always said I could build myself a club house for the "boys" (meaning my friends, not my son's) so this Argrosy might be it! Keeping that in mind, I'm having fun playing around with the floor plan. Poker table up front, beer fridge, full size toilet, cork flooring, wide screen TV, rockin' sound system (jazz of course).

Like I always tell my kids, "you gotta have a plan!"
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:11 PM   #14
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1993 21' Sovereign
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I meant to ask...

Are you sure you have a 1976 model? I think 1974 was the last year of the big square side-to-side taillight binnacle, as well as the last year of the two-tone paint jobs.
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